Member of the Month: Nancy Koziol

Nancy Koziol is an internationally-certified wine expert/author/journalist and owner of couch + cork, an all-woman business providing in-home, venue-based, virtual and corporate wine education events. She started her career as a middle-school educator and believes in empowering students of all ages by giving them age-appropriate information and the language they need to tackle tough topics. As a professional who works with alcohol she believes it is her responsibility to engage with her community to foster safe, healthy, and legal relationships with alcohol. Nancy serves as ACT’s Business Sector Leader.

Why are you an ACT Member? Why do you work to support healthy youth?

As a former middle-school teacher, I know how important it is to start the conversation around healthy choices early. I’m from an era when most parents and children did not discuss things like substances, sexuality, identity… any of the big stuff. Most of my friends engaged in unsafe behaviors in high school, college and beyond. We didn’t know how to talk to our parents (or were afraid to) and it was easy for things to get out of control. I enjoy engaging with people about open, age-appropriate dialogue and how to do it in a way that promotes trust. That’s part of why I work to support healthy youth. The other is because as someone who works in the intoxicant space, it feels right to offer a perspective on safe consumption.

What do you love most about living and/or working in Bennington?

The thing I love most is the balance between urban and rural. We’re only a few hours from New York and Boston and yet a few steps from town you can get on a trail and turn left to hike to Georgia or right to Maine. My home has views of our re-emerging downtown and also mountains. There are National Forest roads to traverse and first-class restaurants. As a city mouse relocated to the country, I love the dichotomy.

Top three songs on your current playlist:
  1. “Witchoo” – Durand Jones & The Indications (definitely my official song of this summer!)
  2. “Put the Message in the Box” – World Party
  3. “Just Like Leaving (Acoustic)” – Bella White (because everyone needs a heart-breaker in the rotation!)
What are you reading right now?

Fiction: Jagged Little Pill: The Novel by Eric Smith, Alanis Morissette, Diablo Cody, Glen Ballard. It’s YA that takes place now but is inspired by one of the most iconic albums of my lifetime. It follows five teens and touches on a lot of topics that affect people of all ages today. I’m only about 20% in but so far it’s surprisingly poignant despite the random song quotes (that I kind of love but also cringe at).

Nonfiction: Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy by Heather Ann Thompson. I’m listening to this one and it’s H E A V Y. While most people know this event as the Attica Prison Riot, I recently became aware of the language change to “uprising,” thanks to a podcast I listen to. It made me want to learn more so I purchased this audiobook on the hosts’ recommendation. For decades, information was hidden from the public and inmates villainized. That is finally starting to change. The book is dense, diving into systemic racism (especially related to criminal justice), politics, and the prison system. I’ve been learning more about prisons in recent years and believe we need massive reform.

What are you doing to support your health and wellness lately?

Times are strange and stressful. I’m prioritizing being kind to myself to support health and wellness. We’re all our own biggest critics and I’m taking a break from that. I’m also hydrating, getting outside daily, keeping my therapy appointments (let’s normalize this!), leaving my phone home when I socialize and scheduling trips to the salon. It’s very easy to hide in work (or under the covers) when the world feels off-kilter, but all the things we enjoy are still out there. I’m choosing to keep enjoying them. I’m fortunate… I know the work will be there tomorrow.

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